50 things that have made Ayrshire great

Ailsa Craig
Not just an eye-catching landmark but also a nature reserve and the source of the granite used to produce world-class curling stones.

Ailsa Shipbuilding Company
Founded in 1885, the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company was based at Troon and Ayr. The ships it built included minesweepers, paddle steamers, ferries, and even a polar expedition ship.

Alan McInally
Now a sports reporter and pundit, Ayr-born McInally played for Ayr United, Celtic and Kilmarnock during his footballing career.

Alexander Fleming
Fleming, from Darvel, made one of the most significant breakthroughs in medical history when he discovered penicillin. In 1945, he was one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Ayr Academy
The oldest school in Scotland, its roots trace back to 1233.

Ayr Racecourse
Horse racing has taken place at the Whitletts Road site since 1907. It is now Scotland’s premier racecourse and plays host to both the Scottish Grand National and Ayr Gold Cup.

Ayrshire Coastal Path
From Glenapp to Skelmorlie the path is 106 miles long and
boasts views of countryside, coastline and wildlife.

Ayrshire College
Made up of three main campuses: Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning. The college supports Modern Apprenticeships and provides excellent learning opportunities.

Ayrshire Tatties
Small and round with a soft skin, these tatties have an earthy, nutty taste. Ayrshire pays tribute to this special little potato by holding numerous tattyfests in its honour.

Barns Street
This street in Ayr is named after barns that were used as temporary barracks by English military forces, allegedly razed to the ground by William Wallace and his men in 1297.

Biffy Clyro
Formed in Kilmarnock the band recorded nine studio albums and were nominated for three Brit Awards.

Bill Shankly
He may be best known for his success as manager of Liverpool FC but let’s not forget, Bill Shankly was born and raised in Glenbuck!

Culzean Castle
Once the playground of David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis, Culzean Castle and Country Park is now one of Ayrshire’s most popular tourist attractions.

David Dale
Born in Stewarton, Dale established mills at Catrine and, more famously, at New Lanark.

Dean Castle
Another of Ayrshire’s historic yet stunning castles! Surrounded by a beautiful country park it’s well worth a visit.

Dumfries House
A stunning 18th-century house set in 2,000 acres, Dumfries House is part of The Prince’s Foundation and has an impressive collection (more than 50 pieces) of Chippendale furniture.

Eddi Reader
From Irvine, Eddi went on to achieve chart success as lead singer of Fairground Attraction. She has recently celebrated 40 years as a live performer.

Edgar Allan Poe
The writer/poet was born in Massachusets but moved to Irvine at the age of six, staying there for a year and attending school in the town.

Eglinton Country Park
Situated in Kilwinning, this is the ideal place for a country walk, a cycle ride or a picnic. Or why not just sit and watch the world go by?

Electric Brae
Ayrshire’s famous gravity-defying optical illusion. Or is it?

Goat Fell
The highest point on the Isle of Arran and one of four Corbetts on the island.

Ayrshire has almost 50 golf courses including five of the UK’s top 100 courses and three Open Championship venues. Prestwick is, of course, birthplace of the Open!

Henry Faulds
Born in Beith, Faulds’ most significant contribution was to postulate that fingerprint patterns were unique to each person.

James Boswell
Born in Auchinleck and renowned for his biography of Samuel Johnson.

James Dalrymple
Born in Barr and is regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of Scots Law.

James MacMillan
A classical composer and conductor from Kilwinning. He was appointed a CBE in 2004 and a Knight Bachelor in 2015.

John Boyd Dunlop
Born in Dreghorn. He was a veterinary surgeon and inventor who created the first pneumatic tyre to be produced.

John Boyd Orr
Born in Kilmaurs, John Boyd Orr was a teacher, doctor, biologist, nutritional scientist, and businessman. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949 for “his lifelong effort to conquer hunger and want, thereby helping to remove a major cause of military conflict and war.”

John McAdam
Born in Ayr, McAdam was an engineer and road builder. He devised the process known as ‘macadamisation’ for building roads with a smooth, hard surface. His process, later refined by the introduction of tar, is the ‘mac’ in ‘tarmac’.

Johnnie Walker
The whisky was founded by the eponymous Kilmarnock grocer and first introduced in 1820. Its Red Label brand remains the best-selling Scotch Whisky in the world.

Kelburn Castle
Known for its graffiti-covered façade, Kelburn Castle dates back to around 1143. The estate is now a popular destination for a family day out and also stages a busy schedule of events.

Magnus the Viking
This statue in Largs was erected in 2013 on the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Largs and is a celebration of the Scots’ victory over the Norse Vikings in 1263.

Mike Scott
A Musician who achieved great success with The Waterboys. A student at Belmont Academy, he also went on to record two solo albums.

New Cumnock Outdoor Swimming Pool
Refurbished by the Dumfries House Trust in 2017, this heated community outdoor pool is open 7 days a week throughout the summer season.

Nicola Benedetti
Born in Irvine and is a world-renowned violinist. She became the first woman to lead the Edinburgh International Festival when she was made Festival Director in 2022.

Prestwick Airport
Famous as being the only part of the UK on which Elvis Presley set foot and for being the point of departure for aviatrix Amy Johnson on her ill-fated ferry flight in January 1941.

Rabbie Burns
Scotland’s national bard is celebrated the world over and is said to boost the Scottish economy by over £200 million every year.

Robert the Bruce
Believed to have been born at Turnberry Castle. This particular King of Scots was one of the most renowned warriors of his generation.

Sam McKnight
The celebrity hair stylist, originally from New Cumnock, can boast Kate Moss, Princess Diana and Lady Gaga amongst his very long list of customers.

Steve Nicol
Nicol won 27 caps playing for Scotland. He also won five English league titles, three FA Cups and the 1984 European Cup with Liverpool.

The Dick Institute
An important cultural venue, ‘the Dick’ is a museum, gallery and library.

The Isle of Arran
A beautiful island in the Firth of Clyde, Arran is a popular holiday destination be it for two days or two weeks!

The Scottish Maritime Museum
Based in Irvine with a reputation for its impressive heritage collection and for being a great family day out.

The Stirling Engine
A type of external combustion engine invented by Robert Stirling during his time as a Minister of the Church of Scotland in Galston.

Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop
A hard, pressed cheese made from Ayrshire cow’s milk. Its flavour is nutty and mild but becomes stronger as it matures.

Turnberry Lighthouse
First lit 150 years ago on 30th August 1873. An iconic landmark it now serves as the halfway house on Turnberry’s Ailsa course and also features a luxury two-bedroomed suite.

William Fife
Born in Fairlie and was a prolific and talented designer and builder of sailing yachts. He designed and built around 600 yachts, including two America’s Cup contenders for tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton.

William Grant & Sons
Established in 1887 in Dufftown, its core brands include Glenfiddich and Grant’s. Now a global company, its world famous Hendrick’s Gin is produced at Girvan Distillery.

William Murdoch
Born in Lugar, Murdoch was a noted engineer and inventor. He was the first person in Britain to design and construct a steam-powered carriage.

William Wallace
The Scottish Knight is thought to hail from Elderslie in Renfrewshire but he may in fact have been born in Ellerslie, near Kilmarnock.